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Say What?

Dr. Steve Singletary is our guest blogger for today. Steve has been at The Center since 2009 and focuses his work on teaching, discipleship training, leadership equipping and marriage counseling. 

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Last summer I wrote a post for this blog titled “You Are Not Alone.” In that post I concluded by naming the two most common areas that I am privileged to help couples navigate.

One of those is communication.

It has been observed that 75% of communication is non-verbal. This can be a little disconcerting for those, like myself, who talk for a living. But I get it. A lot more goes into communication other than the words themselves. Body language, facial expression, volume, tone and “tude” (attitude) all dramatically impact how our words are perceived. Women are especially adept and equipped to “read” these non-verbal cues. It’s referred to as women’s intuition. Let me tell you…it’s real. Intuition is designed to be an asset, and it is…most of the time. More about that at a later date.

Suffice it to say, men and women process information and therefore communicate very differently. This is by design but can also presents many challenges. Especially in marriage.

Let me give you one example. Most women are “verbal processers” while most men are “internal processers”. My wife will often “think out loud”, saying what she is pondering. If she is pondering the color choice of the living room I just painted a month ago (which she picked out) I might react poorly. If I remember that she often thinks out loud, I might say nothing; which in this very real example was an excellent choice. She was just verbally processing.

I, on the other hand, am an internal processer. I don’t tend to speak until I’ve thought it through. If Beth asks me a question and I don’t answer right away, she might say, “Did you hear me?” to which I would answer, with a smile on my face, “I did and I’m thinking.”

What help does God’s Word give us in this area of communication between men and women?  Ephesians 5:22-33 offers plenty.

I will make one observation but there are so many more.

Ephesians 5 instructs us that men and women have different heart languages. A woman’s heart language is LOVE. She responds to this type of communication the best. A man’s heart language is RESPECT. He will respond best when communicated to respectfully. Our culture doesn’t believe in this distinction and is actively trying to eradicate it much to our demise.

To be clear, what I am saying is that God has designed a woman to value and respond best when a message is delivered lovingly.

He has designed a man to value and respond best when a message is delivered respectfully.

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives….

Ephesians 5:22 “Wives respect your husbands…

There is so much more I could say about this but for today let me emphasize that God is directing our attention to the different heart languages that men and women possess.

Husbands and wives have equal value but different designs.

I can say just about anything to Beth IF I say it lovingly. Beth can say anything to me as long as she communicates it respectfully.

This is hard wired into us as men and women. God has built us this way and it is a beautiful thing. Great communication in a marriage then, becomes a by-product of how skillful we are at speaking lovingly and respectfully.

This is what I work on in my marriage daily and what I help other couples work on often. If you are not attentive and working diligently on this, your marriage is probably suffering; maybe greatly. If this is the case, let me encourage you to seek help from a Biblical counselor. It would be a great investment in the most important earthly relationship you have.

And that certainly communicates love and respect.

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